We at Danesmoor have begun the process of becoming one of the first accredited Forest Schools in the region. The process should take around 6 months and once we have been assessed and qualified we will be entitled to join the Forest School Association. This is the professional body and UK wide voice for Forest School, promoting best practice, cohesion and ‘quality Forest School for all’. Only accredited Forest School Practitioners and Schools are able to join this body.
What is a Forest School?
Forest School is an inspirational process, that offers ALL learners regular opportunities to achieve and develop confidence and self-esteem through hands-on learning experiences in a woodland or natural environment with trees. The philosophy of Forest Schools is to encourage and inspire individuals of any age through an innovative, long term, educational approach to outdoor play and learning in a woodland environment.
Forest School is a specialised learning approach that sits within and compliments the wider context of outdoor and woodland education.
The ethos is shared by thousands of trained practitioners across the UK and beyond. Its roots reach back to early years pioneers in outdoor learning and across the sea to Scandinavia.
Research has shown that Forest Schools increase young people’s self-confidence and self-esteem and evaluation suggests Forest Schools make a difference in the following ways:
- Confidence: children had the freedom, time and space to learn and demonstrate independence;
- Social skills: children gained increased awareness of the consequences of their actions on peers through team activities such as sharing tools and participating in play;
- Communication: language development was prompted by the children’s sensory experiences;
- Motivation: the woodland tended to fascinate the children and they developed a keenness to participate and the ability to concentrate over longer periods of time;
- Physical skills: these improvements were characterised by the development of physical stamina and gross and fine motor skills;
- Knowledge and understanding: the children developed an interest in the natural surroundings and respect for the environment.
We are extremely fortunate to have an extensive wooded area within our grounds. We therefore intend to practice the Forest School Ethos alongside the Early Years Foundation Stage to give all our children a truly unique and rounded experience.